Rescue automakers, not unions

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In order to prevent further serious erosion of the nation's manufacturing base, the government may have to spend another $25 billion of taxpayer money to rescue the Big Three automakers from bankruptcy.

But only if they develop a viable business model to survive and prosper.

In testimony before Congress this week, they failed to do that.

Moreover, Democrats seemed more interested in roasting the CEOs and rescuing the unions than preserving the companies -- more concerned with preserving union benefits than the jobs that provide them!

General Motors says without a taxpayer loan now, it could run out of money before year's end. No wonder. GM shells out to its union workers an average of $73 in hourly compensation -- wages plus fringe benefits -- compared with $47 for Toyota and other foreign car firms with plants in the United States. If that huge gap in labor costs cannot be closed, there's no way the Big Three can return to profitability.

Yet, here's what Democrats urged in the way of a rescue package: production of more fuel-efficient cars; executive compensation not to exceed $250,000; suspension of dividends to shareholders; warrants to taxpayers. Not a word about reducing labor costs or downsizing the labor force.

And here's what UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says the company's focus should be if the emergency $25 billion taxpayer loan comes through: to enable "auto companies (to) meet their health care obligations to more than 780,000 retirees and their dependents."

Yes, in the UAW view, a manufacturer exists to provide benefits, and taxpayers should make good on the poisonous pension packages the union wrung from management that are now driving the Big Three toward bankruptcy.

Gettelfinger doesn't care if U.S. automakers make money as long as UAW jobs are kept afloat on the taxpayers' dime.

Columnist George Will says congressional Democrats' priorities vis-a-vis a taxpayer rescue are, in numerical order, preservation of union jobs, environmental mandate for more fuel efficient cars and, lastly, a return to profitability. These goals are incompatible and irresponsible.

Don't be taken in, either, by talk that Uncle Sam made a profit on the taxpayer rescue of Chrysler in the 1970s. True, but labor underwent some very painful restructuring then that the UAW has shown no appetite for this time around.

We're for rescuing U.S. auto companies, but we're totally opposed to bailing out unions. Better the companies go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The courts could then compel UAW to downsize its work force and slash its overly generous compensation packages.

One of the worst results of this month's election is the increased special-interest clout Big Labor gained by helping to get large Democrat majorities elected to Congress.

The timing couldn't be worse for a resurgence of Big Labor. Notably, its dominance is most strongly felt in public education, government and U.S. auto making -- all three of which are bending under the weight.

Throwing money at the status quo would be insane.

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Pay What U Owe
5
Points
Pay What U Owe 11/20/08 - 09:58 pm
0
0
Perotcharts.com (or org, I

Perotcharts.com (or org, I forget). Henry Waxman sent a letter to the CEOs of the banks who got a bailout that is shown there. Evidently, says the letter with citations you can check yourself, the banks did not use the money for lending but saved $108B of the $125B for compensation for the CEOs, including bonuses some of which were projected to be larger because of the tax payer generosity. The Big Three CEOs fly to DC in private jets to ask for $25B and yet, when asked point blank what they would do with it, they had no answer. With these displays of conduct, the loyalties of the AC still fall for the CEOs. Sometimes one just has to laugh.

NotyourDadsBuick
1
Points
NotyourDadsBuick 11/20/08 - 10:44 pm
0
0
No bailout for the auto

No bailout for the auto industry.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/20/08 - 11:50 pm
0
0
The bailout for the banks was

The bailout for the banks was as ill conceived as the bailout for the unions is.The trick played on the taxpayer by Freddie and Fannie will cost the taxpayer for many years, but not nearly as long as this presidential election. Look for the new government to tax us out of poverty and into national wealth. Look for most Obama supporters not to get the joke.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 11/21/08 - 12:36 am
0
0
This is funny because there

This is funny because there is not a person out there that if they could ask for a wage and get it they would. I keep hearing labor costs labor costs labor costs. It's more about profit profit profit. Name me one company that has moved overseas because of labor costs and lowered their prices. You can't because it's a farce. Now while I agree sone unions ask for a huge payrate the businesses can always say no. That's just like the pro sports owners telling me they are going bankrupt but continuing to offer a contract to a player for 80 million dollars. It doesn't all fall on every union. There is enough blame to go around. CEO's that make 20 million dollars in bonuses even though the company they run hasn't made a profit. Let's blame everyone not just the unions!

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 11/21/08 - 12:43 am
0
0
Money for companies flying on

Money for companies flying on private jets, going to black tie parties and paying guys to put bolts on wheels at over $70.00 per hour is absurd. The airlines restructured under bankruptcy and so can the auto makers, if not, so be it. The bloated CEO salaries and all of the waste is as bad if not worse than our government and must end. As for the unions, what a complete waste of money. You talk about politics at its finest, that is what you have with unions other than a complete wase of money and ever paid employees which cost others jobs and businesses to close. Sell their jets, lower the salaries to fair wages, get rid of the unions and then if necessary, loan then some money with stipulations otherwise, let them file bankruptcy and they will have to do all of the preceeding anyways.

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 11/21/08 - 02:41 am
0
0
Loved the fresh cut flowers

Loved the fresh cut flowers on the large conference room tables in the automakers offices when Nancy Pelosi was visiting them. Travel by Limos & Private Jets, take very large salaries and bonuses, waste millions of dollars because of the unions, spend, spend and spend then ask Congress to take from the taxpayers to give to the auto-makers and try and say it is for blue collar workers...give me a break.

rbk
0
Points
rbk 11/21/08 - 04:49 am
0
0
As it is, you are entirely

As it is, you are entirely right, there is room for trimming the budget on both sides. Management and Union Workers both need to cut their compensations.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 11/21/08 - 05:26 am
0
0
The UAW has been instrumental

The UAW has been instrumental in building a black middle class in this country. Republican saws won't be satisfied until unions no longer exist & automobile workers make little more than minimum wage. When this happens, who will be able to afford to buy cars? I agree that unions along with churches & every other organization should be required to open their books & provide full, accurate accounting to auditors. Any professional - including the editor of The Augusta Chronicle editorial staff - who thinks that $73 dollars an hour in wages (which INCLUDES all compensations such as paid vacations, medical insurance & matching retirement funds) is excessive just doesn't live in the real world. Management at Ford, GM & Chrysler that chose to continue building gas guzzlers in the early 1990s when gasoline was as low as 99 cents a gallon IN ORDER TO MAKE SHORT TERM PROFITS showed poor leadership. That is not the hourly wage workers or the unions fault. A $25 billion loan is chicken feed compared to the ongoing expenses of the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan & Pakistan. Those cost at least $25 billion each and every month. The war in Iraq is in its 6th year, Afghanistan in its 8th year.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/21/08 - 06:31 am
0
0
Yeah Cain, Clinton started a

Yeah Cain, Clinton started a war in Afghanistan.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 11/21/08 - 06:42 am
0
0
The U.S. war in Afghanistan

The U.S. war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001 under President George W. Bush. It is now in its 8th year.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/21/08 - 06:48 am
0
0
touche

touche

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 11/21/08 - 07:35 am
0
0
Great ideas. Eliminate the
Unpublished

Great ideas. Eliminate the Unions and the Car Manufacturing Companies, AND all their suppliers. We'll soon be doing each others laundry to make a living.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/21/08 - 07:39 am
0
0
Reorganizing and "doing away

Reorganizing and "doing away with" may be a little bit different.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 11/21/08 - 07:48 am
0
0
The word for today is

The word for today is "extortion".

truthteller
0
Points
truthteller 11/21/08 - 08:03 am
0
0
What a ringing endorsement of

What a ringing endorsement of corporate socialism by the AC. Yes sir, let's keep those corporate jets flying at taxpayer expense, but let the workers eat cake.

DonH
13
Points
DonH 11/21/08 - 08:05 am
0
0
Unions do NOT need a bailout.

Unions do NOT need a bailout. As long as Unions collect dues from the automaker employees, they have a steady and secure source of income.

DonH
13
Points
DonH 11/21/08 - 08:12 am
0
0
When the automakers price

When the automakers price their vehicles so that the average U.S. worker can afford to buy one (Ford's original business plan), only then will they get back on their feet financially all by themselves. The auto companies have become corpulations. No bailouts; restructure!

JesusIsComing
9
Points
JesusIsComing 11/21/08 - 08:34 am
0
0
Though I am not a Mitt Romney

Though I am not a Mitt Romney fan, he is right on this issue - bankruptcy, restructuring, and renegotiating contracts is the solution.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 11/21/08 - 08:36 am
0
0
no bailout, force the big

no bailout, force the big three to file chapter 11 which will allow them to void all labor contracts. this will allow them to layoff all unecessary workers to become a lean obligation in order to compete with honda/toyota. this will allow the big 3 to price their vehicles to be more competitive with honda/toyota, also this will allow the empolyees to be held more accountable for vehicle reliability which will ultimately force better and more reliable cars to be manufactured.

Signal Always
3
Points
Signal Always 11/21/08 - 08:45 am
0
0
Why aren't the car companies

Why aren't the car companies in the South that are making Honda's, Hyundai's, Nissan's, Toyota's, Mercedes's, and BMW's hurting? Maybe some of you libs aren't bright enough to connect the dots there.

donnymack
1
Points
donnymack 11/21/08 - 08:48 am
0
0
One of the most moronic

One of the most moronic editorials of all time. Go figure111

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/21/08 - 08:57 am
0
0
What a silly editorial. Why

What a silly editorial. Why would we want the companies to run efficiently when we could just hit the taxpayer up for more money to compensate for bad business practices like outrageous union contracts? Just give up the free tax money. It doesn't cost anyone that way.

bsandersga
0
Points
bsandersga 11/21/08 - 09:13 am
0
0
Ah, yes, another example of

Ah, yes, another example of Conservative hypocrisy; corporate welfare and socialism for the well-to-do but nothing for the working class who actually make the products.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/21/08 - 09:19 am
0
0
I'll sure be glad when Obama

I'll sure be glad when Obama taxes us all out of poverty. Then we'll all be rich. Nirvana.

Signal Always
3
Points
Signal Always 11/21/08 - 09:27 am
0
0
Who is for corporate welfare,

Who is for corporate welfare, BSanders? I just saw you talking trash about Broun, someone who OPPOSED the 700 billion dollar bailout. Consistency, thy name is not BSanders. True fiscal Conservatives are against ALL forms of bailouts.

TechLover
15
Points
TechLover 11/21/08 - 09:52 am
0
0
The uniions had nothing to do

The uniions had nothing to do with the design or engineering of the autos.They also had nothing to do with the decision to build tons of Hummers,Escalades,Expeditions,Excursions, etc.Even though gas is down now, people have changed their driving habits and they can't give these things away.THere are good American cars out there.Even without that, car sales are down overall.Toyota's sales are down 32%; Honda is down 34%; and Nissan is down 37%.These foreign auto makers have been given millions in tax breaks and incentives to build their factories but we complain about helping the US automakers?If sales continue to go down and the foreign carmakers start laying people off,I'm sure they will wish they had a union to help them.Even though the foreign cars are made in the US, the profits go back to a foreign country.As far as bankruptcy,most of what I have read seems to think this a horrible idea.Sales would plummet even further because no one will want to buy a car from a bankrupt automaker.THe fall of US owned automakers would also be a giant national security issue.If we do have a major war, we need a domestic car industry that can make what is needed for the military.Buy American!

_SisterAbdullahX_
3
Points
_SisterAbdullahX_ 11/21/08 - 09:57 am
0
0
You must understand that John

You must understand that John Cain knows absolutely everything in the whole damn world. He has never been wrong, and his opinions are pure fact!

disssman
6
Points
disssman 11/21/08 - 10:03 am
0
0
The Toyota example dosen't

The Toyota example dosen't provide near the benefits of the big three, but I'll bet the actual employee at each earns the same!. The $75 is because CEO's elected to self insure retirees instead of putting the money in an account every year. That way they could get a bigger bonus! What in the world are CONservativeS so worried about unions. You never hear them complain about CEO pay but let a worker make a decent wage and they are totally upset. You would have thought that the recent trouncing by the middel class would have taught them a lesson.

_SisterAbdullahX_
3
Points
_SisterAbdullahX_ 11/21/08 - 10:05 am
0
0
Oh yeah...and he believes

Oh yeah...and he believes that it is healthy for teens to have an active sex life, and is quoted as saying "[filtered word] the American Soldier." Quite the man we have here.

Rozzie2003
5
Points
Rozzie2003 11/21/08 - 10:06 am
0
0
Mike Ryan ,don't blame the

Mike Ryan ,don't blame the union totally, although some unions have gone too far with demands lately. Had it not been for unions earlier, the American workers would still be in sweat shops and not have the present day quality of life .
All the benefits American workers now have are the result of the unions. Read the history, Men -and women too-fought and died for better working conditions and compensation.
Business owners hired private armies to fight the unions in the beginning.Henry Ford was the first business owner to pay his employees well.
He was paying $5 a day for production workers so that they could buy his cars and this would stop the demands of unions.

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